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Wisdom Wednesday | Hairy Frogfish

Shore Buddies Wisdom Wednesday 11/25/2020

Image of a Striated Frogfish by Instagram user Manuela Kirschner

Striated Frogfish, also known as Hairy Frogfish, can differ majorly in their behaviors; some prefer to walk on the seabed with its arm-like pectoral fins and ventral fins while others prefer swimming! They are formidable predators. When the frogfish spots its prey, it will follow the prey by eye movement only. When the prey draws close enough the frogfish will start moving its lure to bring the prey even closer. If the prey does not respond to the lure the frogfish will stealthily start to “crawl” towards its intended victim. When the intended prey is only a short distance away the frogfish will take time to carefully orient itself so it is facing its victim and it will adjust its mouth angle in preparation for striking. As soon as the prey is within one body length of the frogfish it will strike with lightning speed, swallowing the prey whole. The hairy frogfish has an extremely flexible stomach – so much so that it can swallow prey which is up to twice its own size.  Despite having a hairy appearance, the “hairs” of a Hairy Frogfish are actually skin appendages or spinules which cover the frogfish’s body, head and fins. These spinules can be copious and long or very short or even almost invisible. Hairy frogfish are extremely good at hiding in plain sight and are able to change their color to match their surroundings.